After fifteen months of hiding from the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, two words drive Ruby Bledsoe to face the good citizens of Winslow, Georgia. Never again. She vows to speak out against injustice. For her sisters. For her parents. For her infant son, Solomon.
When she comes to help an injured mill worker, she bristles when a tall, handsome man claiming to be a doctor brushes her aside. Despite his arrogance, Ruby senses he’s someone like her, whose light skin doesn’t quite hide who he is.
Up north, Dr. Adam Morson easily kept his mixed race a secret. Now that he’s in Georgia, summoned by his white father, he can feel restrictions closing in around him.
Something powerful draws him to the beauty whose activist spirit is as fiery as her name. And soon, Adam wants nothing more than to take Ruby and her child far from Georgia’s toxic prejudice. But Ruby must choose between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown.
This book is rich in history, imagery and heart. The first in the Migrations of the Heart series, Huguley tells the story of Ruby and Adam, both leading difficult lives in Winslow, Georgia. The book takes a unique look at an oft-told tale: segregation in the south. It is a delight to read a different perspective of that time in Black history.
Ruby’s strong spirit has the reader rooting for her from the early pages. And Ruby proves she is worth rooting for. Her love for her family and her son drive her, but so does justice. Although her ideas about civil rights make her seem like a woman out of her time, that doesn’t stop her. She still champions the rights of others all while living with a deep hurt.
Huguley does a great job of showing two worlds in one character: Dr. Adam Morson. He could pass for white, but his entrance into that community is tentative. The author deftly shows the tension in his identity and the tension he creates. His choice to live as a white man and attend school was a difficult one, but his noble reasons adds another thread of richness to this story.
One of the highlights of the books is the realistic progression of Adam and Ruby’s romantic relationship. Huguley gives their love story the perfect amount of conflict and admiration but she doesn’t make it easy for them to reach their happily ever after. This makes the romance even sweeter.
If you are looking for a fresh, engaging historical fiction book featuring diverse characters, this is a must read.
Book review by Terri J. Haynes